The brain and somatic integration: Insights into the standard biological rationale for equating brain death with death
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (5):457 – 478 (2001)
The mainstream rationale for equating brain death (BD) with death is that the brain confers integrative unity upon the body, transforming it from a mere collection of organs and tissues to an organism as a whole. In support of this conclusion, the impressive list of the brains myriad integrative functions is often cited. Upon closer examination, and after operational definition of terms, however, one discovers that most integrative functions of the brain are actually not somatically integrating, and, conversely, most integrative functions of the body are not brain-mediated. With respect to organism-level vitality, the brains role is more modulatory than constitutive, enhancing the quality and survival potential of a presupposedly living organism. Integrative unity of a complex organism is an inherently nonlocalizable, holistic feature involving the mutual interaction among all the parts, not a top-down coordination imposed by one part upon a passive multiplicity of other parts. Loss of somatic integrative unity is not a physiologically tenable rationale for equating BD with death of the organism as a whole.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Robert D. Truog & Franklin G. Miller (2014). Changing the Conversation About Brain Death. American Journal of Bioethics 14 (8):9-14.
James L. Bernat (2014). Whither Brain Death? American Journal of Bioethics 14 (8):3-8.
David Rodríguez-Arias, Maxwell J. Smith & Neil M. Lazar (2011). Donation After Circulatory Death: Burying the Dead Donor Rule. American Journal of Bioethics 11 (8):36-43.
Mike Collins (2010). Reevaluating the Dead Donor Rule. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 35 (2):1-26.
Mike Nair-Collins (2010). Death, Brain Death, and the Limits of Science: Why the Whole-Brain Concept of Death Is a Flawed Public Policy. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38 (3):667-683.
Similar books and articles
Daniel I. Wikler (1984). Conceptual Issues in the Definition of Death: A Guide for Public Policy. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 5 (2).
Winston Chiong (2005). Brain Death Without Definitions. Hastings Center Report 35 (6):20-30.
Nicholas Tonti-Filippini (2011). Religious and Secular Death: A Parting of the Ways. Bioethics 26 (8):410-421.
Tom Tomlinson (1984). The Conservative Use of the Brain-Death Criterion – a Critique. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (4):377-394.
Patrick Lee & Germain Grisez (2012). Total Brain Death: A Reply to Alan Shewmon. Bioethics 26 (5):275-284.
Albert Garth Thomas (2012). Continuing the Definition of Death Debate: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics on Controversies in the Determination of Death. Bioethics 26 (2):101-107.
T. Forcht Dagi & Rebecca Kaufman (2001). Clarifying the Discussion on Brain Death. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (5):503 – 525.
Robert M. Veatch (2005). The Death of Whole-Brain Death: The Plague of the Disaggregators, Somaticists, and Mentalists. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (4):353 – 378.
Ari Joffe (2010). Are Recent Defences of the Brain Death Concept Adequate? Bioethics 24 (2):47-53.
Michael Potts (2001). A Requiem for Whole Brain Death: A Response to D. Alan Shewmons the Brain and Somatic Integration. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (5):479 – 491.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads74 ( #56,989 of 1,796,251 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #98,118 of 1,796,251 )
How can I increase my downloads?